Thursday, February 26, 2015

What ever happened to Don Doss?




While growing up my parents use to rent out two of our five bedrooms to college students since we 
lived so close to the university. We got to know a variety of people this way, many of them foreigners.

One such young man (although he seemed very old to me at the time) was Don Doss.
Standing here with my sister Robin in 1963.





His mother wrote the famous book, "The Family Nobody Wanted."

It was made into a movie in 1975, starring Shirley Jones, and also a play that high schools still perform.

It's all about how she and her pastor husband adopted 12 children, all from different countries, and
mixed races. This was back in the 1950s and 60s when adopting out of your race was just not done. Or
very rarely done. Don was their oldest, and after him they got children from India, Brazil, Japan, etc.

It was quite the book back then. We had heard about it before even meeting Don. So he lived with our 
family while attending Fresno State in the early 1960s, for I don't even know how long……a year? 
A few years? I don't know. But my older siblings and myself still remember him.



My brother Richard asked me to find out what ever happened to Don. 
So this is what I have learned so far:

In about 1968,  Don met his future wife while they were both patients in a hospital, and married a year later. As of  2012, they had been married nearly 45 years. They have 2 children, and 2 grandchildren. 


Don's mother, Helen died in 2012 at the age of 97. One her daughters had this to say about their Mom:

"She made many sacrifices to make a difference in the lives of others," her daughter said. 
"She made a difference in the lives of 12 orphans. She made a difference in the lives of 
those who read her books and her stories, and were touched by their message. She made a 
difference in the lives of orphans around the world that were adopted by couples who 
read (her) stories and gave validation for adoption outside of their own race."


I also found this on Youtube this morning….This aired December 1954


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A random strange find

This was so strange to find….


One of my journal entries from 1970…. that would be just…uh,  44 years ago!

I had a class in high school with this guy named Kevin Costanos. 
I don't remember a lot about him but I did write this back on May 15, 1970.
(and be kind when you read it, I was only 15)




Why would a 15 year old guy care at all who built our home or anyone else's?
 This may seem random…..but it has a point.


Just so happens that years later, the Kevin Castanos above joined Wathen homes and turned it
into Wathen Costanos Homes. If you are from this area you know its one of the oldest,
and well known builders in this area.

He obviously had homes and building in his blood all along….
because what other 15 year old kid cares what subdivision anyone lives in?

I saw him at my high school reunion 2 years ago…. (he's on the left….don't know the one on the right)


So what is the point to this?
Sometimes we can see signs of who are children or grandchildren will become someday.

Looking back, I can see signs of who my sons have become.
But only looking back.

With my grandchildren I think I'm a little smarter.
I see their differences and their strengths easier than I was able to with my own kids.

As for me, I'm still writing down conversations I like, in my journal.
And, really, the one above happened 44 years ago??


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Glad I went that night….

So earlier this month I went with my sister Robin to her Relief Society Meeting…
for all the women in her ward.

The last speaker talked about FHE….which stands for Family Home Evening. 
Something we strive for every Monday night.

But it's not the same now for us empty nesters.
I hung around after the meeting and told the teacher, Lori Pope what a great job she did….
however also telling her I was feeling a little down that part of my life is over. 

I have no children in the home to teach every Monday night. 

That's when Lori shoved this handout at me…...


She said, "Here, do this with your married kids." 


So I approached my local kids and my Dad and Susan
 and asked that we all gather at our home for dinner and FHE. 

I decided that we would just do question #1….and then meet 4 more times to do the others. 



I made Chicken Tortilla Soup with all the toppings and homemade Mac and Cheese 
(although it wasn't really homemade but from what I heard it tasted like it was)

After dinner we asked the first question.
We all go to the same church, yet it was interesting the different things that are appreciated.
Such as, to name a few:

unpaid ministry
2 of our teenage girls said they like the standards and guidelines
the music (my Dad said it is like nothing you will hear anywhere else)
the peaceful feeling we get each week
teachings of eternal families
the love he feels there every week (one of our teenage grandboys)




 Logan had just completed a double shift at work 
(literally working around the clock!) and so happy he was still able to make it. 

 We so missed Brock and Erin and their girls but they had another commitment. 



What were the littler ones doing during all of this?
They had their special emergency team set up.

And during dinner, they were comparing notes.  
Jonas is anxious for the day when he will get to have some teeth fall out too.

And afterwards, we played a few rounds of hide the leprechaun. 



I wish I could have gotten pictures of everyone, but some did not want to. I understand that!

Just one little question, and there was our wonderful FHE. 
Five months from now, who knows, we may think of more questions. 
Everyone has an opinion, right?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Didn't see this one coming


This was so strange.
So I noticed the salon was very quiet. 
Much more so than usual. I asked Teresa, 
who was cutting my hair, where everyone was because 
looking all around me I couldn't see a soul. 

She said they had all left home for the day. 

So while Teresa was trimming, I started talking about 
Dennis…how we are in the process of cleaning out his 
make-do office down our hall,and creating a more functional 
office for him right off our front door. I said to Teresa, 
"This is hard because I know nothing about 
organizing an office."
Just as I finished that last sentence, 
a woman came out of nowhere and 
handed me a pamphlet and said, "Here."

My jaw dropped. All was quiet, and then I asked, 
"WHERE did you come from?"
Like she had just fallen out of the sky. 

The woman explained she is a manicurist and had just 

finished her last client for the day, and heard us talking. 
She must have been working behind a wall. 
I asked this suddenly appearing woman, 
"Have you heard the saying 'When the student is ready 
the teacher will appear?' I never thought it would be so 
literal. This is crazy."
So then she says,
"If you want any references just let me know."
I gave the pamphlet right back to her and said, 
"Yes, write the references on here!"
If nothing else, it will be learning experience for us. 
The students are ready. 
I just need to talk one of the students into it.


 Den completed the painting this morning…
Revere Pewter again. We love it.

I've never known anyone to hire an organizer.
I wonder if this really does help, or is organization all a 
matter of personal preference??

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Wonders of this past week

Téa, who is only 5 1/2,  suddenly announced 
she wants to add an "h" to the end of her name. 

So she wrote it down and presented it to her Mom.

And after all these years of not using the top shelves of my kitchen 
cupboards (because I can't reach them)….I gave them all to 
Dennis! He is delighted to have room for all his snacks.


And his latest snack, that he SO LOVES….
(and I wouldn't know because I have yet to taste them)….

 Thanks to Betty Lou, he now has a fruit sweetened/gluten free 
dessert whenever he wants….and shelves to put them on. He keeps 
saying they truly do taste like a piece of pie. And might I add, he 
has gone back to Sprouts at Riverpark THREE times in 1 1/2 
weeks to buy more. 

(Being the minimalist he is, 
he can't quite grab the concept of buying in bulk at one time.)



Why do I get the feeling our Robby 
rushed from soccer to cello practice?





McKay and Leo (Tyler and Karen's son) with matching shirts. 
I'm pretty sure this was random.
(One does not usually color coordinate with their uncle.)



Elora sent this to me from church one day 
(okay, so this was last week.) 


She took the picture herself with her new cell phone and said, 
"We got this quote from church, and I thought you might like it" 
She's right! I do. 


We are doing some downsizing around here.


 So we've decided to just put these two chairs, free to a good home, 
right here in front of the TV until someone comes over and says 
they want them. Or knows of someone who wants them. 
They are in great shape….no rips or tears. Very comfy. 
But they have to like flowers.





 So far, not much company this week. 
 Something about having a 4 day fever keeps people away.



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Do you have a favorite TED talk?


Does this poem speak to anyone like it does to me?

Healing Powers

In 1956 Dr Alice's Lancet article shared her discovery:
At a rate of 2 to 1, children who died of cancer
had mothers who were x-rayed while pregnant.

But the world was in love with the cool new machines,
And surely doctors intent on healing
Could never do harm.

The slaughter of the innocents continued for
Twenty-five more years
Despite the news.

"Openness alone cannot drive change."

Institutions cannot think.
They are comprised of people
Who find some information frightening,
And the conflict it evokes threatening. 

They do not see
Conflict as a kind of thinking.
They have not yet embraced
The value of differences
Nor built the muscles
Such thinking requires.

Dr. Alice (the people person)
and statistician George (the reclusive nerd)
danced a passionate pas de deux.

His task---to disprove her theory,
Hers, to prove it right.
They brought their best:
Their devotion to science's highest purposes,
opposite perspectives,
Their varied backgrounds.
They were not each other's echoes.

It was exhausting. It was not fun.
It took patience and a lot of energy.
It was a kind of love.

By this tumultuous process
--and the death of a child a week for twenty-five years--
changes came.

"Openness isn't the end. It is the beginning.

Author: Linda Hoffman Kimball (who wrote this after hearing the TED at the end of this post.)



Thank you Tyler for introducing me to TED talks!

Do you have any favorite TED talks you could tell me about? 
I've been home with a fever since Sunday and I could use the distraction…. I may as well be learning.







What is a TED talk? I am new to this so I looked it up:
TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, 
usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What is a terrible idea?

I agree with THIS.

Just in case anyone else is as naive as I've been as to what this is all about... 


I had heard about this book/movie months ago, but didn't really 
know what it was, or what it was about and I didn't really care. I 
DO care now. 

And really, teenagers are even reading it? How very very sad.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Walk and the other 4 books

So captivated by The Walk, I had to keep on reading each new one in the series….
and here I am a month later, and as of late last night, I've read all FIVE.

This is so not like me. I'm generally not interested in fiction. 
But this series sucked me in. Den, too. He's on book 4 right now.

Did you know, dozens of people called the author from their death beds 
because they wanted to know how his series was going to end before they died? 

And did you know that on "multiple of occasions" 
this series interrupted someone's plan to commit suicide? 

I like it because this series is about PEOPLE.
All he met walking across America.
Made me realized, once again, that EVERYONE has a story.

Yes, I know the people are fictitious characters, but still…like my mom use to say
 about fiction, "I'm sure it happened somewhere!"

This series also makes me want to go out and about, and talk to more strangers.



What do you say when you talk to a stranger?

Some ideas I found today:

"Have you seen any good movies lately?"
"What is your favorite restaurant around here?"
"Tell me about your dog" (this one seems a bit out there)
"What have you been interested in lately?" (too presumptuous)
What famous person do people tell you that you look like because you look so familiar?
(most everyone looks familiar to me so this might work)







Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Feeling the love last night

There were red and pink everywhere last night.

It was our monthly Relief Society meeting at church, 
for all us women.
I look forward to going every month, but especially every February 
because Valentine's is my favorite holiday.

My most favorite RS meetings are when we have speakers, 
and last night we got to have FOUR.
One speaker challenged us to ask in prayer each day 
where we can be used "in just one little place." 

She said even when we are busy with our families 
and all we are trying to get done, 
we need to be aware of the people and needs around us.
Another speaker quoted "May we do a little better…." from 
President Monson. She talked about how years ago when she had 
newborn twins. There were 2 occasions when she was very 
overwhelmed and needed help and called her neighbor. Somehow 
this neighbor dropped whatever she was doing and came and 
helped her. These twins are all grown up now but she still 
remembers the help she was given by her neighbor.




We were given the idea of when we get a letter in the mail that is 
not ours…instead of returning it to the mailman, walk it over to 
the house it belongs to and meet the neighbor this way. 


One speaker shared how she was feeling anger towards a relative 
because of some choices he made. Then she realized that 
she needed to "just love him like the Savior loves us. 
Not conditional love, but just love him."

She also shared this quote:
"Your Heavenly Father loves you----each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by 
your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank 
account. It is not changed by your talents or abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when 
you are sad or happy, or discouraged or hopeful. God's love is there for you whether or not you 
feel you deserve love. It is simply always there."  Thomas S Monson.



Of all the decor last night, this was my favorite….
You would never know there are two brown doors 
behind all that crepe paper.

So festive and lovie looking.

And how thoughtful was this! Just a few of us in the ward 
are Gluten Free, but we were not forgotten!




(I would sure love to have one of these chalkboard pictures. 
Does anyone know where I might buy one?)

We were challenged to each take a basket 
and put something fun in it and give to a neighbor.



I just though of one more idea from last night. 
A young mom of SIX, said a "huge blessing" in her home has been letting the kids 
take a turn each week staying up 30 minutes longer to have time alone with the parents, 
playing a board game or whatever. 



Saturday, January 31, 2015

I didn't even know she had written this.

Late Thursday night I decided to pull out my old baby book….to see when I had measles 
(since they are so much in the news right now here in California). 
Sure enough, it was June 1958. My Mom kept such good records.

But I also found something in my book that I don't think I'd ever seen before.
My Mom must have put this in there years ago….all nicely typed and slipped into a sheet protector. 
Why had I never noticed it before now?

She wrote this when she was 32.
I have sons older than that now!

She wrote about what it was like the very first time she attended the Mormon church.
The hopes and dreams she had for her children at the time. 
And what it was like the day the Mormon missionaries knocked on our door in 1955. 

My brave little mother. 

The happiness and joy that has spread to all of her children and grandchildren, 
and now great grandchildren,
 since that day in 1955 is immeasurable!



Mom and Dad in front of the St George temple in 1959

Mom and Dad with Derald Bates, one of the missionaries who baptized them in 1955.
She kept in touch with their missionaries all throughout her life.
I am so thankful for my parent's courage. I owe them so very very much.
They chose a life different from their parents, their friends and everyone they knew at the time.



But wait, there's more….
Last month my brother John found some things of Mom's he thought I might be interested in.

These apparently are the very pamphlets Mom wrote about in the paper above….the ones the
missionaries left her in 1955, plus a stack of notes they used to teach her from on her kitchen table.